Urban Blogs – tons of em’

There was a time that I felt all alone fishing an urban river – dirty smelly places where no “real” angler would venture (at least that was the impression I was given).

However these days urban fishing appears to be all the rage and everyone wants in on the act – Singlebarbed (no introduction needed)loves it, Urban Fly Fishing – a blog dedicated to urban fly fisherman in Southern California goes crazy for it, The Urban Fly Flikr – loves Urban Fly Fishing anywhere there’s water, Roughfisher – believes the path of enlightenment for a roughfisher isn’t about the fish itself, but rather the journey getting there (probably the bus) and finally Primal Fly Fishing  who holds carp as if they were bazookas. They are all fantastic blogs and I urge you to add them to your places to visit !

Hell I did not know this whole “brownlining” thing was getting trendy until I was interviewed for the Wall Street Journal – you can read my input here.

Dont worry – I wont let my trend setting ways go to my head!


Lookin’ after the missus!

So there were two new mothers who wanted to go the Baby Show at the SECC and there were two new fathers who wanted to go fishing – simple solution – hook up the two mothers to keep company while the two guys go fishing – sometimes I think James Bond will come after me because of my dastardly plans.

On Saturday I had watched as the weather remained at a nice constant temp – maybe around 15-16 degrees, it had been patchy cloudy and seemed like a great day to fish – I could sense rising trout. Today was overcast but cold – no higher than 11 degrees –  the forecast was for heavy rain – luckily it never materialised. 

So we drove to a river (the Kelvin), we then drove to another river (a tributary) which we passed- we then finally decided to drive to another river entirely as it was particularly cold. When we got to the river it was hitting the magical 12 degrees point when olives were supposed to hatch. Turned out it was not until we had walked a half hour (through a field of cows I might add however I refused to climb over a barbed wire fence) and then fished back up river several pools before we finally spotted an olive – it was a good half our after this that we spotted our first rising trout – we both cast to it (turned out there was a few trout) and I hooked and then promptly lost one – we moved on.

Rather be here than at a "Baby Fair" - whatever the hell that is!

Rather be here than at a "Baby Fair" - whatever the hell that is!

Like most semi urban rivers (we decided that two guys pulling on waders next to a kids Play Park in a housing estate was not worth the hassle so we parked down a lane) there was plenty of rubbish and evidence of fly tipping – obviously also the usual burnt out car (other father said there was another one around the corner) – it would feel weird not fishing next to a burnt out car after all these years.

Burnt Out Car

Too late too pinch the stereo..

I noticed at one point my Deer Hair Emerger was feeling and looking pretty weird in the water – turned out it had picked up an extra passenger – once that wee monkey was discarded the serious business of catching no fish could once again commence.

Serious question - was it trying to have sex with it? Like a blow up doll?

Serious question - was it trying to have sex with it? Like a blow up doll?

The river had plenty of olives coming off and when I pulled in a clump of weed there was a little nymph wriggling away.


Wriggling Nymph - you just did not see the mess the weed had made of the fly!

The river here is criss crossed with pipes – more so than the Kelvin – there was also evidence of sewage in the water – it had a milky sheen to it – I totally forget and wet my leader using my tongue at one point – I made a mental note to watch out for severe sickness!

Milky - like - well milk really. And wee!

Milky - like - well milk really. And wee!

There is leaves on the trees now – this river gets more and more difficult to fish as the season (spring) continues.

Alistair Casting

Alistair Casting - soon loses a fly!

Campbell Casting

Campbell Casting - he wanted to try a wooly bugger!

I pool jumped Campbell and spotted a rising trout tight in to the right hand bank facing upstream, turned out there was a couple of trout- we both had a few casts – we were not sure if it was nymphs, emergers or uprights they were taking..


Upstream casting to spooky trout

Upstream casting to spooky trout

“They are big trout” Campbell hisses – I could tell this by the way they boiled on the surface – it was soon my turn again as Campbell was changing flies – I had on my secret weapon (scruffy olive) – had a few casts, one of the trout took my fly and then went bananas all over the pool – jumping several times, boring deep and then quicly netted for a quick hero shot:

Hero Shot - you guys never told me how sexy my ass looks in waders!

Hero Shot - you guys never told me how sexy my ass looks in waders!

And a close up of the head for luck…

Troots Head

Troots Head

 It was then just enough time for another few casts before heading home to the wives and wee men..

Best Catch of the Year

Best Catch of the Year

Juggling fatherhood, husband duties and being a fisher is hard sometimes however it makes even a difficult day by the river seem all the better – it could have been either one of us that caught that fish – I reckon it would have been nice just to watch it happen!

Tying Flees!

Ok – so winter was a washout when it came to tying up flies – if I had my head screwed on I would have tied up some at the end of last season however due to Pike Madness pretty much everything went by the wayside. 

I thought people who moaned about having no free time when they had children were just bloody bad at time management – turns out, no matter what you do, you are always behind on all tasks and tying some flies comes way down on the list. 

So over the last couple of weeks I have been tying up as many flies as possible – giving the JVice a bit of a workout. 

Turns out when you have not tied a lot of dry flies you get rusty – well – Deer Hair Emergers turn out like horror shows and you must tie a half dozen before you remember how to do them correctly. 


Olive DHE - was this before my hands warmed up - you decide!

Olive DHE - was this before my hands warmed up - you decide!

I am fishing a small stream on Sunday – finding some proper rising trout (starving). 

I hope I can remember how to roll cast!

Lessons learned with cold hands…

When I arrived at the “other” river the conditions seemed just right – as I was getting my permit I ran into Neil “Trout Machine” Sinclair of Double Decker fame (double deer hair wings  allow the fly to be used in the heavy water where  big fish like to sit) -“if he is here” I reasoned “then I must have hit it right

Mike (Tamanawis) soon showed up as well – a quick hello and then we all hit the river.


There was no trout rising however it is only a matter of time I said to myself – approx 45 mins later as I watched numerous March Browns drift past while no trout rose I began to suspect that something was not right – another hour later and after a hatch of Large Dark Olives I knew the trout were just not turned on.

I crept up on Mike who at least had found some rising trout – hooked a couple and then promptly lost them – I suspected they were Grayling….splashy rises – we get caught out by the wee ones every year…


I moved on.

I was sitting watching the water when I thought I spotted an otter – I was fumbling around with my camera when I got a splash at my feet – watch this cheeky wee bugger:


 And I was wondering why I had caught no trout from the pool!

I was glad that I had tied up some nymphs before I left the house – I used my new JVice which I am reviewing – damn sweet it is too.


I cast to the head of the pool with a dry and dropper – 2nd cast and the fly stopped – I struck – a strange fight – a Grayling – a nice one – maybe a pound, maybe just over…

Grayling on the bank

– Later Neil said it did not count as it was not in season, still a nice fish – you can see where it has been damaged – the otter? A cormorant?

Otter Damage?

I met up with Mike and we watched Neil fish for a bit – sometimes it pays to just watch other anglers – one thing we noticed was that if he spotted a rising trout he would then cover it many times before moving on – even if the trout had just risen the once – I suppose the method behind this is that if it has risen once then it will rise again – it has not moved off to another area it is still sitting there – thinking – maybe thinking about rising to one of those pesky flies that keeps passing over its head.

Mike then showed me his most recent creation – don’t let him fool ya – you see he gives off this impression of being all tiny dry flies for tiny trout however then he brings out ultra realistic streamers while discussing catching Salmon and Sea Trout on the dry fly.

Crazy man with huge streamer

Not that he gloats and not that I am envious.

I left when my hands got too cold – Neil I noticed had brought a flask of coffee – ah experience!

The day started with such promise – overcast (kinda) with a breeze, there was going to be a good temp too – it ended with cold hands and a chat about the JVice in the car. The trout in this river were just not locked on to surface flies yet – a bit like the Kelvin really – the Kelvin is maybe a couple of weeks ahead due to the increased temp of the city – at least that is what my pals and I think anyway!

Neil was still casting, casting, casting in the distance…

River Kelvin Forum

So the wee River Kelvin Forum is going from strength to strength with around 170 members already – we have a nice little community gathering together talking about ….well all kinds of things really! We are discussing naming pools and areas on the river as well as making a hatch chart – we have enlisted the help of Craig from the co-ordinator of the Ephemeroptera Recording Scheme who will identify any insects we send him. We are going to be accessing funds to buy some sampling gear to get the ball rolling this year. We are also discussing the rules on the permit.

Heck – I even decided to open a Salmon & Sea Trout forum as you guys kept going on about it so much 

All restrictions on guest viewings have been lifted for the meantime – they will possibly be reinstated at a later date so to keep on accessing all the info you might as well join up now.

You can register here

If you want to have your say join up – do not be shy – nip in and say hello.


Milngavie Fly Dressers & Casting Club

Damn and blast – looks like I will be missing this week’s guest speaker at Milngavie Fly Dressers  as I am away for the weekend. Magnus Angus writer for Fly Fishing & Fly Tying will be giving a presentation on Thursday 16th April on macro photography of flies and feed back on what it takes to win the FF & FT annual tying competition.

The evening is open to all and will commence at 7pm at Milngavie Library, Milngavie, Glasgow.

Also, Glasgow City Council have given their consent and provided Milngavie Fly Dressers with a pond in Knightswood Park on the North side of the city where we can chuck fluff to our hearts content. So if you want to learn to cast, simply practice or try out a rod and line then get yourselves along. The is plan to meet on a Thursday evening from 6.30pm until dusk and a Sunday morning from 9am until 12. There will be a token charge for attendance of a £1 as we had to take out 3rd party insurance. We will start on Thursday 30th April and run until September.

We have instructors qualified at APGAI, Level 2 and GAIC and who are members of GAIA and will be able to instruct trout and salmon casting.

A few hours on the smelly kelly..

The day was overcast, warmish (around 12 degrees), a little windy, there was the odd olive on the water (big ones too), the water was giving off its usual smell – they don’t call it the Smelly Kelly for nothing – anyway, to cut a long story short I caught one trout on a nymph – a tiny one at that.


I also discovered a Triffid growing by the river – just sitting there – growing – I have seen the movie and the even better BBC adaptation.


Before long shit like this will be happening….


Sinister -damn right…..


I suppose there is every possibility I let my imagination run away with me so I stand corrected if it is not some evil flesh eating plant – anyone know what it is?

Nastassja Kinski scene in Cat People

Talking of sexy women in waders..


Submit your photo on fishkelvin.com

OK – so the official site is coming along nicely although I have ran out of a bit of steam – Oh sure, I am still plodding away with the \”serious stuff\” however I want you guys to remember that there is a photo gallery over there. 

Now – I would like all Kelvininators (I love the sexy industrial sound of it) to put the word about that I would like to add some more photos to the photo gallery. 

The gallery is for any Kelvin Fisher to submit their hero shot  for everyone to see – the site states:

Without the fish in the river we would have no future, consequently it makes sense to show some restraint before killing any fish. Please do not hesitate to take the odd fish for the table however stories have circulated about people killing fish indiscriminately. Conservation of our river should be first and foremost in our minds. 

We recommend carrying a camera so that your fish can be returned alive to the water and your hero shot then displayed in our gallery

I think that is pretty self explanatory!


Go forth and be snap happy – submit over here: http://fishkelvin.com/photo-gallery/

Seize the moment!

Seize the moment – when your wife tells you that you can go fishing – Do it!


Sure I caught nothing however at least I was out there – casting and wading.
Sunday was a funny day – it was kinda bright with a cold wind. The Kelvin also was a little cold. In fact it was damn cold (not absolute zero which is still hot) however cold enough to make me think I had a leak in my new waders – turned out it was just an exceptionally cold bottom I had.

A good pre spring day – on days like this you can see all the shady pipes that spew “stuff” into the river. Also as all the bushes are bare you can work out routes to new spots – perfect!


As usual appalled at the detritus washed up at bottle necks – bizarrely shopping trolleys are good for trout – they give immature trout somewhere to hide, the weed they collect encourages insect life and they put “real” anglers off fishing urban rivers.


Anyway, I caught nowt – however on looking through my fly box I noted I had very few small scruffy olives – considering my first (and only) trout of the season was caught on one I spent a quick hour (today was an exceptional day when it came to free time – the God’s were smiling) at the Vice. 


It did not take an hour to tie up the one fly – ended up with a dozen elite fighters to add to the ranks!

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